The 10 Most Admired People.

I’m naturally curious so I love people who expose me to new ideas or interesting ways of thinking about a subject.  Here are the ten people I really admire and would suggest you check out.  This list reflects my interests in marketing, entrepreneurship, writing, travel, buddhism, philosophy, music and politics.  Six of them live in the USA, two in the UK, one in Bangladesh and one in Australia.  What would your ten be?

Seth Godin

Probably the most original thinker in the world of marketing today.  I devoured his book Purple Cow at one sitting and his blog was voted #1 by AdAge.

Kevin Rose founder and serial enterpreneur Kevin Rose is the same age as me and I’ve always followed his career and online show Diggnation.  We’ve both gone through the ups and downs of building a business and we also seem to like tea, technology and San Francisco.

Tim Ferriss

Angel investor, public speaker and author of the brilliant ‘Four Hour Work Week’, Tim Ferriss is a guy who has a brilliant mind and likes to live at full throttle.  His blog also has some very cool articles such as ‘How to learn any language in 3 months’ and ‘How to be Jason Bourne: Multiple Passports, Swiss Bank Accounts and Crossing Borders’.

Rolf Potts

Rolf Potts is a travel writer with a difference.  His book ‘Vagabonding – The Arts of Long Term Travel’ was a revelation to me and is probably “the most sensible book of travel related advice ever written”.  Though he rarely stays in one place for more than a few weeks or months, Potts feels somewhat at home in Bangkok, Cairo, Pusan, New Orleans, and north-central Kansas, where he keeps a small farmhouse on 30 acres near his family.

Leo Babauta

Life can get complicated and reading Leo’s blog ‘Zen Habits’ reminds me to focus on slowing down and spending time on the important things.  Leo recently moved to San Francisco from his native Guam and his blog is a joy to read.

John Mayer

Recent controversies aside John is one of the best guitarists of his generation.  His DVD ‘Where the Light is’ was amazing and you can tell he is always pushing to be a better artist.

Muhammed Yunus

I got a chance to hear Grameen Bank founder Muhammed Yunus talk in Glasgow and couple of years ago when Sir Tom Hunter invited him to Scotland.  Yunus’ pioneering work in microfinance to help the poorest out of poverty so they can provide for themselves and their families is an inspiring story.

Peter Singer

The Australian philosopher and co-founder of the Animal Rights Movement is a controversial figure.  While I may not agree with all of his writing his clear rational thinking is profound and thought-provoking.  He once said “Capitalism is very far from a perfect system, but so far we have yet to find anything that clearly does a better job of meeting human needs than a regulated capitalist economy coupled with a welfare and health care system that meets the basic needs of those who do not thrive in the capitalist economy.  He then adds that “If we ever do find a better system, I’ll be happy to call myself an anti-capitalist.”  Check out his book Practical Ethics.

Ajahn Sumedho

Ajahn Sumedho is the leading representative of the Thai Forest tradition of Therevada Buddhism.  Born in the USA he was a medic in the Korean war before becoming a buddhist monk.  ‘The Way It Is’ is one of my favourite books on Buddhist and the Good Life.

Shami Chakrabarti

As director of human rights organisation Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti stands out as a principled, compassionate and intelligent woman in a world of often shrill, dumbed-down and ignorant public discourse.  Sometimes I despair in the level of public debate in the press and on TV but people like Shami gives me hope.

Feel free to suggest your ‘most admired’ people in the comments section below.

  • Caron

    Interesting list. Shami would definitely be on mine & I will look up the others.

    I also find it interesting that apart from Shami, your list of key influencers is exclusively male. I say that as an observation, not a criticism.

    • burkesworks

      There’s always been an air of something not quite right about Saint Shami of Controlled Opposition, as there invariably has been with Liberty/NCCL alumni over the years (see also Harman, H.). Much talking the talk, very little walking the walk.

      • Niklas Smith

        Are there any particular issues where you think she’s chickened out or “not walked the walk”?

        I can’t think of any myself but perhaps I haven’t followed her personally (as opposed to civil liberties debates generally) enough to know.

      • burkesworks

        Her links with agribiz giant Monsanto and the rather shadowy “Ditchley Foundation” don’t sit easily on the track record of someone known as a “civil liberties campaigner”. Also, just what *was* her role regarding David Davis and the bizarre Haltemprice & Howden by-election?

  • James Taylor

    Yes when I first put the list together and had a look at it I was also surprised that there weren’t more women there. I did consider Aung San Su Kyi but opted for Muhammed Yunus in the end because I loved the simplicity and profundity of his microfinance idea.

    Would be interested to see if someones gender influences their role models and if so why. What would your list be?

  • Niklas Smith

    An interesting list. I will have a think and try to get back to you with my list (though I’m not really a person with “role models”, there are definitely people I admire).

  • Jamie McHale

    A good list, including several blogs that I read regularly.

    I’d add David Attenborough to the list for his work on science and biology. His films are inspiring, putting across a profound appreciation for the world around us.

    I’d sure there are a lot more that I would add, but the list might get too long.